Mateo Kovacic is a starlet Croatian footballer who plays for world football giants Real Madrid and the Croatia national team. Making a name for himself at parent club Dinamo Zagreb, Inter Milan were aware of the potential talent possessed by the central midfielder and subsequently signed Kovacic in May 2013 for a deal worth €15m. Inter made clear of their intentions for Kovacic by handing the newly signed player the inuagural number 10 shirt, previously worn by Wesley Sneidjer. Impressing from his debut by assisting teammate Rodrigo Palacio for the winning goal, to scoring a wondergoal in early 2015 in a 2-2 draw with Lazio, news of the young talent spread to football royalty at Real Madrid who managed to secure Kovacic's signature ready for the 2015/16 season.
Born in Linz, Austria, to Bosnian Croat parents who had emigrated from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kovacic showed an instant passion for the game through playing at Linz's local academy LASK. Showing signs of promise, European clubs including Ajax, Internazionale, Juventus, and Bayern Munich competed for the future star's ability. Kovacic's parents made the decision to move to Zagreb where Dinamo Zagreb would now develop his clear talent. Kovacic progressed through the youth ranks at Dinamo and after impressing First Team Manager, Zoran Mamić, he was given his debut on 20 November 2010 where he scored the fourth goal in a 6-0 against Hrvastki Dragovolic. Signing for Inter Milan on 31 January 2013, Kovacic was instantly included for Inter's Serie A match against Siena three days later and showcased as a half-time substitute. Kovacic spent three seasons at Inter proving an invaluable member of the squad, increasing his appearance count year on year.
Signing a six-year deal with Real Madrid on 18 August 2015, The Professor hopes to make the comparisons between his style of play to Seedorf and Kaka a reality. Inter Milan legend - Javier Zanetti, regards Kovacic as the most promising youngster he has seen in 19 years clearly demonstrating the deserved hype for the 21 year old.
Kovacic has represented the Croatian senior national team, making his debut on 22 March 2013, playing alongside new teammate Luka Modric. He has since clocked over 20 appearances for his country and scoring one goal.